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The EXCEL! Experience

The EXCEL! Experience 

The SNS EXCEL! Program serves students in the School of Natural Sciences (SNS) by offering structured academic success coaching.  Students in academic difficulty and students who have been away from the university through Academic Dismissal or Educational Leave and have returned often benefit from academic success coaching to manage the transition back to university life.  


Research has shown that students who receive academic coaching statistically do better in their courses, increase their GPA, and/or remove themselves from Academic Notice or Subject to Dismissal standing. 

Impact on GPA 

During the SPRING 2018 semester, students who participated in the EXCEL! Program saw an average increase in their GPA of almost a full point (.84). Almost two-third of the students who were in academic difficulty returned to good standing or avoided dismissal due to GPA Growth after going through the EXCEL! Program.



The SNS EXCEL! Program School of Natural Sciences students who are Subject to Academic Dismissal consists of four required meetings during theacademic year. Check-in appointments are often utilized.

First Visit 

The first program meeting consists of completing the Academic Reflection and Academic Success Agreement forms and reviewing any challenges or barriers the student may be facing that are affecting academic success. The first meeting will include goal setting, exploring purpose for major choice and reason for choosing UC Merced, as well as a target GPA calculation, and creation of a calendar. A review of their academic syllabus for each course is often performed. A review of campus resources based on the student’s needs will be discussed and used to create SMART goals for the semester.

Second Visit 

The second meeting is a review of academic performance and goals prior to midterms. The Academic Success Coaching Follow Up Reflection will be completed prior to this visit. During this meeting initial grades will be discussed, as well as study habits, review of time management methods and resource use. A check of any challenges and barriers still existing will be performed as well as the status of any SMART Goals created during the first visit

Third Visit 

The The third meeting is a discussion of mid-semester grades and semester target GPA goal. Students will complete the Mid-Semester Performance Reflection. This continues the conversation of progress through coursework and a check-in on any SMART goals created. A review of study strategies to approach the second half of the semester prepared to complete the semester in good standing will be reviewed. Finally, reinforcement of resources and learning support will be discussed.

Fourth Visit 

The end of term visit occurs prior to finals to prepare and the last day of instruction to prepare for finals week. The student will complete the Final Reflection Form and review the strategies and resources utilized throughout the course of the semester. A review of their target semester GPA with their current grades will be performed. Strategies for addressing unmet SMART goals or GPA will be created, including impact on Financial Aid, possible subsequent Probation or Subject to Academic Dismissal standing, Appeal policies, or other options in the best interest of the student. Students will complete an end of semester EXCEL! Program Feedback Survey at the final meeting to share any thoughts about their Success Coaching experience during the semester to assist future SNS students with services provided

An undergraduate student is Subject to Academic Dismissal (SD) from the University if one of the following occurs: 

  • The student has been on Academic Probation for two or more semesters and the student's cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, or 
  • The student's semester grade point average is less than 1.50 and the student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0. 


Academic Notice Student Experience 

The SNS EXCEL! Program supports School of Natural Science students on Academic Notice through the Academic Success Experience offered through CatCourses called Bobcats on Track.

SNS Students are engaged in material to assist them in goal setting and improving their GPA over the course of semester. To track their growth, students will complete a Start of Semester Reflection and End of Semester Reflection. Attention will be given through modules dedicated to Time Management, Note Taking, Active Reading, and Test Prep. Student will complete modules throughout the semester to learn or improve their academic skills. On the spot coaching will be provided through comments on completed assignments. SNS Academic Notice students can reach out to EXCEL! Academic Coaches for a personalized coaching session anytime during the semester. Visit for scheduling and more information.

An undergraduate student is placed on Academic Notice (AN) at the University if one of the following occurs: 

  • The student's semester grade point average is less than 2.0, or 
  • The student's cumulative University of California grade point average is less than 2.0. 


 Returning Student Experience

Academic Reentry following Dismissal and Returning from Educational Leave

SNS Students returning from a semester or academic year away through the Educational Leave Program will be offered EXCEL! Program Academic Success Coaching support. SNS Students who have applied for Academic Re-entry following Academic Dismissal may also benefit from these services. Students can schedule a 1:1 coaching session to assist in their transition back to UC Merced through the review of resources on campus and a refresher of effective academic behaviors. New SMART Goals may be created to help students navigate the remainder of their degree.

Reinstated Students


Academic Good Standing 

SNS Students in the School of Natural Sciences (SNS) in Academic Good Standing are not required to complete EXCEL! Program requirements: however, they may see an increase in academic performance and may improve student behaviors by meeting with an Academic Success Coach. Students who are in Good Standing may schedule a 1:1 Academic Coaching to discover new academic strategies that can be incorporated into an existing schedule to improve overall performance or build on the skills they already possess. Discussion topics can include Time management, study methods, navigating learning opportunities and experiential learning, such as Undergraduate Research and Study Abroad. In our 1:1 Academic Coaching sessions, students may prepare a topic beforehand for guidance or come to discuss areas that they would like to improve upon.

An undergraduate student is placed on Good Academic Standing (GAS) at the University if: 

  • The student's semester grade point average is above a 2.0, AND
  • The student's cumulative University of California grade point average is above a 2.0. 


Schedule your 1:1 Academic Success Coaching session today by visiting:!